Life Becomes More Complicated, a column authored by Attorney Mikael Hooker, is a wealth of information. He covers everything from living wills to nursing home costs. We are happy to provide copies of his articles here.

 

There are a variety of situations where a person is deemed incapable of making decisions because of cognitive impairment. Some professionals use the word "capacity" while others refer to "competence." While some readers might believe that a person is either mentally competent or not, the issue is not that easy. There is actually a spectrum of decisions and/or actions that require varying degrees of competence.

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Life is simple at birth. You have very basic needs, however, your needs beyond food, clothing and shelter become more complex as you age: love, career, hobbies, purpose. At each phase/stage of life your needs evolve.

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Medical technology, medications and improved nutrition along with other factors, have raised the life expectancy of Americans. People are living longer, and will live even longer as we move into the future.

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Massachusetts law allows a competent person (the "principal") to designate a surrogate medical decision-maker (the "proxy") in the event he or she later becomes incapable of making health care decisions.

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